Preserving the future, educating to beauty



Jericho is  the oldest city in Palestine located near the Jordan River. Although it was not directly on the road that connects Galilee to Jerusalem, Jesus visited it a couple of times. In Jericho we emember the episode of Zacchaeus, who climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus passing by. For centuries, the Franciscan friars of the parish of Jericho have been at the side of needy families, not only as spiritual guides, but also through concrete support to the poorest, in particular taking care of the education of many children and young people.

In Jericho we regularly support the training of young mosaicists at the Mosaic Center founded by Father Michele Piccirillo, to guarantee a future for the young people of the city and preserve the cultural heritage of the area. We have also started Italian and English courses for young people, especially for those who work in the cultural and artistic fields


  • Training courses and cultural activities for young people
  • Italian and English courses
  • Conservation of cultural heritage


  • Young mosaicists through job creation
  • Local people active in cultural and social activities
  • Pilgrims

Building people: story the architect Osama Hamdan

“I finished my specialization in architecture in 1994, in Italy. So I decided to come back here to rebuild the country. ” This is the beginning of the story of Osama Hamdan, Palestinian, born in 1960. Nothing more and nothing less: a degree in architecture in Italy and hisreturn home, in Jerusalem, to help out in reebuilding the society. A normal incipit, of a common story, but Osama’s life is everything but this. His expertise in enhanement of the cultural and natural heritage, and the strong desire to “change the world, change things” are only the basic elements of that recipe that will then be his life. “When we returned, my wife Clara and I, we had nothing”, says Osama “not even a table to to sit at for dinner. I worked on some projects related to the Palestinian Ministry of Cultural Heritage. It wasn’t easy then, but there were really a lot of opportunities, there was a lot of work and we were all very hopeful. Above all, the desire to change society was great and this gave me, gave us strength”. In a short time, Osama’s great professionalism led him to deal with increasingly demanding projects. It was then that he had his first great intuition: “ I realized that to build society I had to build people first. There was a lot of incompetence, and little awareness of the value of the heritage we have… So I started to grow specialists “.


Since then he has mainly been involved in training projects, traveling from the south to the north of the West Bank. “I left early in the morning and before ten at night, I was never home”. A real passion, that of Osama Hamdan, also because nothing came to him, or very little. “Hard times”, he tells us again, destined to become even harder. In that period, he began to notice the difficulty of working within the Ministry. “I was a little naive then and very optimistic about the construction of the country … It was not so easy: every two by three you met a wall” In short, for him it was a great disappointment. Almost wanting to give up everything to go back to Italy. In 2000 there was an encounter with the man who, he tells us, “literally changed my life”. This is Father Michele Piccirillo, a world-famous Franciscan archaeologist. He soon began to work with him and decided to give up the Ministry. In the wake of this meeting was born in 2002 the Mosaic Center Jericho, which deals with restoration and production of mosaics throughout the territory. And the numerous collaborations with experts from abroad and – shortly afterwards – with the Association of the Holy Land also begin. Alongside the restoration, it has always been the passionate and difficult training of young people. “The Mosaic Center is not just restoration of mosaics, it was and is the beginning of the realization of that project of change in society that I carry from the beginning. Here too we had numerous projects, in Jericho, in Ramallah, in Birzeit and even in Jordan and Syria. Then we could travel there too. But our main concern was that the Palestinian boys and girls would learn, that they would start to become aware of beauty, of art, in short, that they become complete people”. Even today, fifteen years after its inception, the Mosaic Center deals with heritage restoration and continuing education for children. In addition to this, there is also the production of mosaics according to ancient Palestinian techniques. “We receive requests from all over the world!” Exclaims Osama satisfied. “It was not easy, and it still is not: every time you have to start over, the boys cannot accept difficult situations and there is a great general disillusionment.” But when we ask him if he would do it again and why, he doesn’t think twice “Absolutely yes!” He answers, “Palestine and these guys really deserve more! Now we also start to get recognition from others and slowly someone changes. It takes very little eh, for example that the boys learn that in a restoration site does not leave in disorder and that plastic glasses should be collected. Which is more beautiful this way. That alone is enough for me, that there is a growth of awareness! “Osama Hamdan smiles: “I’m not rich, I’m fine, I’m better than when I started for sure, but I’m not rich. But I wouldn’t sell any of these small achievements for an easier life without principles. “For several years Osama has been responsible for the Conservation and Development projects in Palestine and since 2018 project leader in Bethany, funded by AICS and some private foundations.

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